Toyota Motor Corporation, Toyota City, Japan, has announced that it will grant royalty-free licenses on nearly 24,000 of its patents for vehicle electrification-related technologies, in an effort to further promote the widespread use of electrified vehicles. The company also plans to provide fee-based technical support to other manufacturers developing and selling electrified vehicles when they use Toyota’s motors, batteries, PCUs, control ECUs, and other vehicle electrification system technologies as part of their powertrain systems.
By granting royalty-free patents and providing technical support on its vehicle electrification systems, Toyota stated that it aims to help governments, automakers, and society at large to accomplish goals related to climate change. Shigeki Terashi, Member of the Board and Executive Vice President of Toyota Motor Corporation, explained, “Based on the high volume of inquiries we receive about our vehicle electrification systems from companies that recognise a need to popularise hybrid and other electrified vehicle technologies, we believe that now is the time for cooperation. If the number of electrified vehicles accelerates significantly in the next ten years, they will become standard, and we hope to play a role in supporting that process.”
The royalty-free patents are said to be for advanced technologies found in electrified vehicles, particularly those used in hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), that have helped Toyota to realise enhanced performance, reduced size and cost reductions. More specifically, the patents included are for parts and systems, such as electric motors, power control units and system controls. These are core technologies that can be applied to the development of various types of electrified vehicles including HEVs, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), and fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEV).
Together, Toyota stated that it will offer approximately 23,740 patents awarded over its more than twenty years of electrified vehicle technology development, with the grant period beginning immediately and lasting through the end of 2030. Contracts for the grants may be issued by contacting Toyota and discussing specific licensing terms and conditions.
Toyota already offers 5,680 patents related to its FCEVs as of January 2015. Now, it will add approximately 2,590 patents related to electric motors, 2,020 patents related to PCUs, 7,550 patents related to system controls, 1,320 engine transaxle patents, 2,200 charger patents, and 2,380 additional fuel cell patents.
Included in the fee-based technical support Toyota will offer will be overviews of vehicle electrification systems, control guides, and detailed explanations of tuning guides for vehicles that will utilise its systems. The guidance that Toyota will provide, for example, will include helping other automakers to achieve high-level product performance in terms of fuel efficiency, output, and quietness fit for the vehicles they are working to develop. These services will be contract-based.
Toyota stated that by offering both royalty-free patents and technical support for electrified vehicles, it sees an opportunity to encourage the development and market introduction of electrified vehicles around the world, something it has long considered a top-priority management issue based on its strong belief that environmentally-conscious vehicles will contribute to the fight against climate change only if they come into widespread use.
In 2015, Toyota identified targets to reduce its own emissions and established the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050, a set of long-term action targets for sustainability, aiming to reduce CO2 emissions from its vehicles and plants, and in 2017, it announced a sales plan for the proliferation of electrified vehicles covering the period through the end of 2030.